Definition of Death Act: Proposals

Medical technology can artificially extend some life functions, making it unclear when death occurs. The definition of “death” ought not to be left to the courts. Nor should the medical profession bear the responsibility of reaching a philosophical conclusion. The Commission proposes legislation defining “death” as the total and irreversible cessation of brain function.

Definition of Death Act: Tentative Proposals

Significant advances in medical technology, which now allows heart and lung function to be maintained artificially, create a need for a legal definition of “death.” This definition will have important implications for the permissibility of removing donated organs after brain death. The Commission proposes legislation defining “death” as the total and irreversible cessation of brain function.